Monday, May 18, 2020

Cut Out China

​ ​China's Ambassador to Israel has been found dead inside his home near Tel Aviv Sunday morning, Israel's Foreign Ministry has confirmed.
​ ​57-year old ambassador Du Wei had only assumed his post in February 2020 in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, due to which he entered a two week mandatory self-quarantine upon his arrival. He'd previously been China’s envoy to Ukraine and is survived by his wife and son, who were not yet in the country.​ ​

​ ​Police were reported outside his residence in Herzliya, which lies just north of the Israeli capital, conducting an investigation but have told the media Wei's death isn't being treated as suspicious. However, a number of commentators are highlighting the context of tensions between the US and China inside Israel as being essentially in a state of behind-the-scenes diplomatic war after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's visit there last week.
​ ​Pompeo sought to urge the Israelis against trading or investing with China, especially the agreement for China to start operating Haifa Port in 2021. As multiple reports underscored:
​ ​On Wednesday, Mr Pompeo denounced Chinese investments in Israel and accused China of withholding information about the coronavirus outbreak.
​ ​Washington has sought to strip China of ability to exercise influence in this strategically key part of the Mediterranean where the US Navy's 6th fleet often docks and restocks.

​ ​A team of Australian scientists has produced new evidence that the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is optimized for penetration into human cells rather than animal cells, undermining the theory that the virus randomly evolved in an animal subject before passing into human beings, and suggesting instead that it was developed in a laboratory.​..
They tested the propensity of the COVID-19 virus’s spike protein, which it uses to enter cells, to bind to the human type of ACE2 as well as to many different animal versions of ACE2, and found that the novel coronavirus most powerfully binds with human ACE2, and with variously lesser degrees of effectiveness with animal versions of the receptor.
According to the study’s authors, this implies that the virus that causes COVID-19 did not come from an animal intermediary, but became specialized for human cell penetration by living previously in human cells, quite possibly in a laboratory.  

Coalition of 116 countries back Australia's push for independent coronavirus inquiry​ 
(I don't see USA on the list. Is USA quietly offering repudiation of debts to China if China is found guilty? Africa is all on board, suddenly. What's "independent"?​ What about Ft. Detrick leak hypothesis? Ever heard of it, Mates?​)

China adds long-term organ damage to list of effects of Covid-19
Authorities say patients can have lung and heart problems in the longer term – among other consequences

A large-scale study out of New York's Northwell Health adds to the evidence that kidney injury is linked to COVID-19 hospitalizations. Doctors across the Northwell hospital system reported an "alarming amount" of hospitalized coronavirus patients developed acute kidney injury (AKI) during the height of the pandemic. 

​INFECTED, 2012 EU instructional comic book​ reads like a script, except Eurocrats are not super heroes. Thanks Eleni.
EU-funded comic PREDICTED deadly pandemic escaping China - and guess who saves the day?BRUSSELS once predicted the escape of a deadly virus from a Chinese laboratory that threatened the lives of billions - and even painted the European Union as the hero behind the world's recovery.

​Colleen sent this article about President of Madagascar calling on African nations to quite the WHO, due to refusal to test herbal COVID treatment, derived from anti-malarial plant artemisia.

Well, it looks like they are starting in-vitro (cell culture testing) trials on artemisia for COVID, now. 
That's how they spotted chloroquine and remdesivir.

Lamas make little tiny antibodies that get into the nooks and crannies of teeny little viruses.
'Llamas are the real unicorns': why they could be our secret weapon against coronavirus
Researchers hope llama antibodies could help protect humans who have not been infected

​Matt Taibbi finds another unforeseen consequence of trying to be nice with other people's money.
Since mortgages all get bundled into mortgage-backed-securities now, and sold-on to investors, who get little pieces of a big pile of mortgage payments, the really weak link is "mortgage servicing companies", with "servicing" being a euphemism. These are run with minimum "service" and maximum profit, and very little cash buffer. 
Guess what is about to break again, like in 2007. 
Paying on a mortgage?
The Bailout Miscalculation That Could Crash the Economy
A plan to help homeowners avoid foreclosure was good, in principle. In practice, it’s pushed the mortgage business toward yet another potential nightmare


  1. I posted this on TAE yesterday but everyone had gone home! Here it is for you to think about.Taboo is a very important word.

    It alarms me that the new taboo about distancing and fearfulness is coming at a time when solidarity and group strength will be important for the functioning of our new way of being.

    The present taboo is that we must fear other people. They are the source of a mysterious illness that is killing people around the globe in enormous numbers. No one is immune and there is no treatment against this threat.

    We are seeing two contradictory responses the virus. At one and the same time, globally, we have adopted a taboo that separates us. In addition this is done in the sense that we are caring for each other, a form of service to the larger whole.

    Fear and service.

    But there is still one taboo tnat is still too dangerous to talk about. In my opinion what the new virus has done is to expose a deeply held belief system that we must not challenge. One of the tenets of this system is that profits will be maximized by paying the absolute minimum amount of money to get work done by people. In North America this means importing young women from other countries to staff nursing homes, their young men to work in fields and meat processing plants, and efficiently locking up criminals in high density jails and young people in super sized efficient schools.

    This belief system is, I think, called neo-liberalism.

    This is such a taboo subject that the doctors and epidemiologists and modellers did not see and anticipate how a shared economic belief would enable a pandemic.

    1. Thanks mary,
      Actully I did read your thoughtful entry at TAE, but it was already the next day.
      I work in public health in Austin. These workers are my patients these days. When I was in college in Austin in the late 1970s, I was the cheap labor, and I could always get summer jobs right away, doing whatever manual work there was. Not these days. I don't think white people even CAN get those jobs, or black people, except there are a few guys my age operating backhoes or other big machinery, but fewer and fewer of them.
      "Labor arbitrage" or "wage arbitrage" is how these are designated. These hard working folks come here to have a chance for their families, away from criminal gangs, kidnappings, rapes and murders. (Thanks CIA drug-running!)

    2. Hello John. This link says more than I could in my brief note about the BIG taboo (wage arbitrage is really neo-liberal talk!). Look at this

    3. Hi Mary,
      Looking at that last little paragraph of my reply, I would split it into 2 separate thoughts, thusly:

      "Labor arbitrage" or "wage arbitrage" is how these (labor changes) are designated.

      These hard working folks come here to have a chance for their families, away from criminal gangs, kidnappings, rapes and murders. (Thanks CIA drug-running!)

      I read that article when it came out, and it's pretty good. I don't recall if I icluded it or not. Nobody can actually know what's next, because we have not co=created, or even really started to negotiate it yet. Political positions in the US seems to have actually hardened since the article was written 7 weeks ago, not become more cooperative.
      We are stuck in this holding pttern until some kind of deep, powerful catastrophe makes the power elites, our owners, capitulate. They will need to fll through the bottom of the depths of despair for that to happen.
      Don't hold your breath. Keep a low profile, grow vegetables, bike places, take vitamin-D.